What you do in your house is worth as much as if you did it up in heaven for our Lord God. We should accustom ourselves to think of our position and work as sacred and well-pleasing to God, not on account of the position and work, but on account of the word and faith from which the obedience and the work flow. ~ Martin Luther

Thursday, August 31, 2017


At least she had the decency to color coordinate.


Auntie Beth came for a visit and she bears the proof of a smooch.

Beef Stew, before

Beef Stew, after

After church, we all shed our fancy duds and babies once again walk around in their skivvies.
The fancy sash never made it entirely off of Ineke, resting atop her mushroom head instead of wrapped around her protruding belly.

Corynn in her very own flower garden this year

Andrew in his very own patch

The garden may be lacking this year...but not the flowers.  

The last day of August is upon us and I know it won't be long before the amazing vibrance of summer moves aside for the more muted burgundy, mustards and rusty hues of autumn.  It's coming.  I feel it in the weighty air.   I am these crazy urges for scented candles, hot showers and comfort food.  Maybe I'll actually pick up some knitting again one of these days.

This weekend is a busy one~ Corynn and Judah are having birthdays on Saturday, the same day I hope to set up at our community rummage sales.  Proceeds go to the girls' room re-do fund and, as that is a (hopefully) fall project, that envelope needs to get filled quickly!  Not to mention, I am tired of the Granary being filled with yard sale bins, adult consignment bins, childrens' consignment bins.  At this point, I am ready to just donate it all and clear out the granary once and for all.  (Well, until the next time, if we are being honest here.)  

I cleaned out our murky, mucky, dank basement last weekend and took a load to scrapmetal, a load of recycleable plastics to the recycle center, set a bunch of stuff for garbage and washed the musty, gross clothes.  It is as spiffy as a wet floor, low ceiling old farmhouse basement can get and I felt pretty accomplished.  When the Granary is emptied too- well, that is going to be a pretty great feeling.

Judah has asked for another backhoe cake (I wonder when he will grow out of these?) and Corynn has chosen macarons for her birthday dessert wish.  I have never made them before and am nervous about the whole thing....but they are something I've always wanted to make- so I am happy for the excuse to actually do it.  Hopefully, they won't be a total flop.  

Usually we have nearby relatives drop by in the evenings which means the house will need to be spiffed up for company before evening too. 

I am not sure how I will accomplish all of this in the midst of having a yard sale- but, we'll see.  

  Amazingly, both Corynn and Judah chose Cheeseburger Soup so I only have to make ONE birthday meal request instead of two- and an easy one at that.  I'll make some lard biscuits to go with it.  The whole meal can be made a day ahead- and possibly the macarons (does anyone know this to be true?)- which would leave Saturday free for the busyness that comes with having a yard sale.

And after the yard sale and birthdays are over, school must inevitably begin again.

Goodbye August.  You've been good to me.  

Let the September Hustle begin.

Thursday, August 24, 2017

My Mister

Fifteen years later-  He still listens when I blather on.  He still patiently forgives.  He still lifts me up when I am down.  He still tells me I am beautiful and makes me believe he believes it.  He still holds me when I fall asleep.  He still kisses me hello in the morning.  He still lets me put my feet and legs on him, well, pretty much all the time.  He still impresses me with his talents. He still makes me laugh so hard my side aches and tears squish out.  He is still faithful and true.  

Fifteen years later- He is still the best part of me.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

The Garden This Year

The peaches looked beautiful this year but developed a terrible moldy powder, rotting on the branches and then plunking to the ground, before they ripened.  Fruit trees are harder to master than I thought.  Definitely not a 'plant it, leave it, then eat from it' sort of deal.

Planting about 120+ garlic bulbs last fall, these were the only ones that didn't rot in the ground.  And of these, most didn't even grow large enough to be worth the effort.

"WHAT are these?"  

 I have that look when I see our totally NOT CUTE Lilliputian bell peppers too , Ineke.

You hear me peppers?!?!  NOT CUTE.

The garden this year stinks.  

It's true.  The spring/summer of rain did no favors for my growing things- the tomatoes are blighty, the cabbages did horrible.  The peppers were stunted, if they grew at all.  The garlic rotted in the ground.  A huge plot for kale and swiss chard are still only about 6 plants smaller than my palm after an entire summer.  Hundreds of beet seeds.... probably won't give enough for a single meal. Dozens and dozens of onions grew a tiny fraction of that- 18ish?  Tons of pumpkins planted and I see only two small pie pumpkins in the dying vines.  The corn tasseled out at about 2 feet high so I didn't think there were any cobs...and then Andrew told me there were so I went and harvested and they were too mature to eat.  
The weeds blanket and crowd because there were weeks where it was too swampy to get out and weed every day.

It is downright depressing out there.

The beans are doing well now, after having been replanted twice.  The cucumbers and squash loved the rain and have kept us well supplied.  The herbs are doing marvelously.  The flowers are beautiful this year.  I can't eat them, but they feed something inside me.

How good God is in all things.  Even in crummy garden years, we live in an age where we are not solely dependent upon what we produce ourselves.  This winter I can buy canned tomatoes and the world will not come to an end.  We will not starve.   And that has not always been the case.  

We may not have an overwhelming abundant harvest, but there are still fresh beans and cucumbers and tomatoes and garlic and basil and squash and cilantro and peppers to eat.  And they taste delicious.

Usually we push off the start of school until canning is winding down because August and September are spent with me feverishly stuffing things in jars but I see no need to prolong the inevitable since there is nothing really to can outside of pickles and relish.  And this lightens my load considerably.  The children aren't terribly thrilled about this- and neither am I- but I guess it is time to wrap my head around the fact that home education is imminent.  Since I haven't begun to actually do anything in that regard- we are still a few weeks out. :-)

So there are plenty of blessings in our gardening year. 

I am also grateful for the reminder that I am not in control.  I am not the sole contributor to my own outcomes.  Why do I need this reminder so constantly?   I can work my fingers to the bone and devote time and money and perseverance to a cause but it does not guarantee my success because while I am called to plant, God gives the increase.  It's Him, not me.  It's not me ever.  Every good garden year is not because of my effort but because of His gift to us.  
This was made more poignant this year in particular as several friends and neighbors had their gardens utterly destroyed and literally washed away in freak flooding.  They were beautiful gardens and they worked tirelessly to make them so, but an abundant garden harvest was never promised.  And it was never up to them to decide.    

This is a truth that envelopes our entire lives, wherever they might lead, whatever they encompass.  Every dish that I do.  Every meal that I make.  Every jar that I stuff.  Every moment I teach my children.  Every moment I talk with my children.  Every moment my children watch me.  Every time I watch the news.  Every  candid conversation I have with old friends who happen to be staunch atheists.  Every time I go grocery shopping with ducklings in tow.  Every to-do list I scratch out on a piece of paper.  Every time I crack open the Word, every time I am broken, every time I am made whole.

It is high time we realize our dependence upon God.  When we do, how can we not be eternally grateful?

And if it takes a rotten garden year to remind me of that, well, praise God!

The 2016 "Putting Up" List

It's a new year~ time for a new 'put 'em up' list in the sidebar!  

Here is the list from 2016, for posterity.

~Canned~("jars" unspecified means I used a variety of sizes)

Ghee6 jars
* Peaches, 7 qts
* Peach Jam, 21 jars
Green Beans, 19 qts
Three Bean Salad, 24 pts
* Tomatoes, 216 qts
* Pickled Peppers, 9 pints
* Bone Broth, 12 qts
* Zucchini Relish, 18 jars
* B&B Pickles, 12 pts
* Marinara Sauce, 7 jars
* Hot Salsa, 23 pints
* Hot Sauce, 8 jars
* Blackberry Jelly, 6 jars
* Dill Cukes, 9 qts
* Cucumber Relish, 5 pts
* Three Bean Salad, 15 jars
Hot Pepper Mustard, 12 jars
Pickled Peppers, 7 jars
* Beets, 14 qts.
* Pickled Beets, 33 jars
* Chicken, 5 qts.
Applesauce, 25 qts


* Huckle/Blueberries: 5 gallons
* Blackberries: 4 qts.
Peach Wedges: 3 gallons
Corn, 8 qt bags
* Butter (plenty)
* Mozzerella (plenty more)
* 2 cows (beef)


* Sun-dried Tomatoes- 2 qt jars full

~ Other ~

* Elderberry Liquor- 1 qt
* Vanilla Extract- 2 qts

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Marvels of Life

breakfast pizza- a real treat

By Corynn



Donuts- AGAIN?!?!  This time they were to take platters (and introduce ourselves to) two different new neighbors on our hill.

But we had some too.  ;-)

Donuts are killing me, my friends.  Killing me softly.

Did you all see the solar eclipse yesterday?  We went to the scratch and dent store and bought .99 boxes of cereal so we could make projection boxes in order to see it because all the solar glasses were sold out everywhere.  They worked- meh....so-so.  Not so great.   I noticed that if you look at the reflection on the back of a windshield, you could see the crescent shape even better so the boxes were tossed aside for a while.  The boys and I were at a park at the time, waiting for the girls to be done an American Girl program at the library and there were a TON of people there with glasses.  One nice lady about to leave gave us a pair so we got to see the effect really well.  We don't live where it was a TOTAL eclipse- and it was too far a drive to get to a place that did have one- but it was amazing to see anyway.  We raced back to the library so the girls could see it through the glasses too- and all the other girls at the class too.  Just goes to show that one small, nice deed can have a ripple effect- touching the lives of many.  Lots of happy solar eclipse watchers thanks to her kindness!  According to the NASA website, our area is due for an ALMOST total eclipse in 2024.  So, I'll have glasses ready for that now.  ;-)

There is so much beauty in the world that it actually literally hurts me sometimes.  Does it ever feel that way to you?  Like the air is sucked from your lungs and you can't bear it?    It happens to me.  I am not sure if it is due to the beauty or the fact that this beauty that overcomes is tainted with shadows.  And there is a place where no beauty is tainted.  How can that be?  How can it be more glorious?  My imagination falls flat.  It's hard to explain.  It is also hard to breathe.

Thank you all for your responses and comments to my question last week.  They were so helpful and encouraging.  Intermingled in it all, some beautiful insights and genuine nuggets.  Thanks for taking the time to share with me.  I should ask more questions more often because I really, really loved the interactions with you.  I am not sure if you just like talking budgets or if you'd be equally interested in answering other questions- but I am sure I could think of a few!  ;-)  Reading your comments reminded me that I am not just typing to a glowing box- which is what it usually feels like- but to people who actually come to this place and read my words.  And that fact is pretty remarkable to me.

Craftiness of the week~ I had the pleasure of sewing some baby gifts for some darling twins who arrived recently.  I used this pattern/tutorial for the pants and just loved the fabric for it.  I inverted them to be twinny- but not like identical twinny.  ;-)

Ineke makes it so difficult to so things these days.  She is in that infuriatingly sweet phase of getting into every.single.thing.  I love that she is so easily happy doing mundane, repetitive things.  She LOVES washing canning jar rings.  She could poke needles into felt and then take them out and then poke them back in all day long.  Reminds me of what Chesterton once said (in Orthodoxy, pg 61): 

"A child kicks his legs rhythmically through excess, not absence, of life. Because children have abounding vitality, because they are in spirit fierce and free, therefore they want things repeated and unchanged. They always say, “Do it again”; and the grown-up person does it again until he is nearly dead. For grown-up people are not strong enough to exult in monotony. But perhaps God is strong enough to exult in monotony. It is possible that God says every morning, “Do it again” to the sun; and every evening, “Do it again” to the moon. It may not be automatic necessity that makes all daisies alike; it may be that God makes every daisy separately, but has never got tired of making them. It may be that He has the eternal appetite of infancy; for we have sinned and grown old, and our Father is younger than we. "

And while we're at it, Chesterton helps me explain why there are so many pictures of babies on my blog in his essay “In Defence of Baby Worship” from The Defendant, 1903.  Because they are marvels, each one, and marvellous in all they do.  With their "delightful bulbous heads, three times too big for the body", these human mushrooms are fascinating. So- that's why there are an inordinate amount of pictures of them here. :-)

Reading of the week~ In the canning beans picture above, you'll see I am still working my way through Coolidge (on audio) which I am really enjoying through the necessary tedium of every day.  It must be a huge book- there are 18 cds in all in the audio version.  I'm on cd #11 and it is due back at the library this week.  Eek!  
At night I am reading The Politically Incorrect Guide to the Great Depression which is actually a fabulous combination to read simultaneously because of Coolidges' strategies and resulting impact of the economy versus Hoover/Roosevelts.  Very interesting!  Trump would do very well to read these books with all that is on his economic plate these days.